Apologies for the rather large gap in updates, the muse left me cold. But I've got another chapter, and another song to go with it. This chapter's song is Foxes' White Coats, which I think perfectly sums up Scully's feelings for Mulder in regards to her abduction.
"You're good to go, Miss Scully," Doctor James told her brightly, her patient sheet filled in on her clipboard, "Just take it easy, rest, and don't let us see you again soon." Her doctor was very cheerful, for that Scully was grateful. She knew she could have had a real miser.
"Thank you, Dr. James, I'll do my best." Scully attempted at humour, but it seemed to fall flat. She didn't have much energy for comedy these days. Dr. James smiled anyway.
"No problem. A Mr. Mulder is waiting at Reception for you, he says he has your clothes for going home." At this Scully was genuinely shocked. Mulder was taking her home? But surely her mom would have come? At her look of surprise, Dr. James backtracked, her dark eyes turning concerned.
"Were you expecting someone else?"
"Y-yes, I suppose, he's my partner."
"Oh, then that's fine, if you two are together-" Scully's eyes widened at the assumption.
"No, no, he's my work partner, we work together." She hastened to explain, wondering why she was so adamant in denying her and Mulder's relationship. They weren't a couple, just colleagues.
"Well, he's a very dedicated work partner then, I'll send him through if you're ready?" Dr. James recovered quickly from Scully's panicky explanation, and pushed her coily hair away from her face.
"Yes, please, thank you." Scully nodded. She was eager to get out of her uncomfortable, papery hospital gown, and Mulder had her clothes. She wasn't going to turn him away.
Feeling suddenly tired, Scully lay back on the bed, staring up at the plaster ceiling. The white swirls were almost hypnotising, and they almost reminded her of powerful lamplights, like the ones in surgeries. Like the ones she saw in her odd dreams-
"No!" Scully gritted her teeth, pushing against the blurry memory. Running her hands through the hair at her temples, she gripped and tugged lightly. Scully forced herself to calm down, to let go of her hair. She wasn't going to dwell on what happened to her, she was going to move on and go home and go back to work with Mulder.
"Scully?" She looked up, surprised. There he was, hair messy, eyes a little tired, clothes wrinkled. Scully wondered briefly if he'd slept in his clothes, "Are you alright?"
"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine, Mulder." Scully ducked her head, hiding her features.
"Okay," he said, slightly awkwardly. They hadn't had much chance to talk since she had woken up. All of her time was taken up with her family, which was absolutely right, Mulder reminded herself. He's just her crackpot FBI partner. "Well, I brought some of your clothes, Melissa helped me pick some stuff out."
Scully immediately looked up. If Melissa had been spending time with Mulder, she was in for a world of interrogation from her sister as to why she wasn't on that. She shuddered to think the kind of questions Melissa was cooking up for their next dinner.
"Oh, okay. Give them to me, and I'll sort myself out." Scully reached out, and Mulder handed her the bag. Their fingers brushed briefly, and Scully pulled away fast. Mulder just left his hands stretched out, feeling the lingering coldness of her hands. Cold hands, warm heart.
Scully retreated into the back room, and Mulder sat on her hospital bed, feeling like the awkward loner he was. Their relationship had disintegrated in light of her abduction. All of their light back-and-forth had suddenly evaporated in the seriousness of her medical situation. They had a gravestone made for her, for God's sake.
He almost lost her. And that thought scared him more than anything else in this universe. Somehow, within almost a year, Scully had become such an important component in his life that her dissappearence left him reeling and left adrift. When she was found and hospitalized, his hope had grown tentatively, only to be dashed when the reality of her coma hit him.
When she did wake up, he felt like the one who wasn't supposed to be there. Surrounded by close family, Scully was absolutely fine without him. Even with the strength of his beliefs, she was suddenly very far away.
Speaking of which, Scully came out of the back room looking almost normal. Simple t-shirt and jeans, with a soft blue pullover that Mulder had found in a bottom drawer. Melissa had widened her eyes at it, and mentioned casually that it looked good on Dana. And Fox Mulder agreed wholeheartedly.
Candid Scully was a vision. So much soft blue and white, with the lovely red of her hair complimenting the whole look. She looked positively patriotic, with all of her red, white and blue, and Mulder felt like a Fourth of July firework just looking at her.
"Ready to go?" She asked him lightly, fluffing out her hair.
"That's my line," Mulder smiled, remembering himself. He stood up, and instantly felt the familiarity when Scully had to look up at him again, "Let's get you home, Scully."
Scully simply smiled at him, and suddenly the clouds parted. A Dana Scully smile, a genuine one, could cure cancer. Mulder was certain that she could do enormous help just showing off her pearly whites at any sick person. She'd be a medical wonder, in every way. They left the room, Mulder shutting the door behind them.
Scully was having her own private moment of familiarity. Being able to just look at Mulder in all of his dishevelled glory felt so right, like he'd just come to her door after staying up all night chasing leads. She looked down at his palms, swinging loosely by his thighs as they made their way out of the ward. Her mother had told her about how Mulder had held her hands so tightly, like he could tether her to this world with his fingers.
"He's a special breed, Dana, and he feels very strongly for you." Scully had just turned away, not willing to get her hopes up. Her... kidnapping had opened up a world of feelings she didn't know how to handle. She had never dealt with strong emotions very well, her dating history was enough proof of that. And bringing those feelings into the workplace was possibly the worst idea ever conceived.
She knew that Mulder, with his obsessive nature, would not be able to leave feelings at the office door. Not that she was any better, of course. She hadn't exactly been rational when she decided that dating her married professor was alright.
As they arranged themselves in Mulder's car, the pair remained mostly silent during the entire drive to Scully's apartment. Mulder was focusing steadfastedly on the road, and not on his partner, who he wanted to hold in his arms and never let anyone near her again. But he didn't think that would be well received, somehow. So he kept his hands on the wheel and his eyes on the road.
Scully wanted his comfort and warmth, his big hand around her little one. The memories swirling around her mind were too brightly-lit, and she wanted a little darkness, a little memory loss. She didn't want to confront the fact that someone had gone out of their way to assault her and abduct her and leave her for dead. Sully screwed her eyes shut, and balled her hands into tight fists. She pushed the feelings down forcefully.
She had never been a good victim, in fact the very idea of it made her recoil automatically. She was a mature, capable and rational medical doctor and FBI agent. She wasn't anyone's victim.
But her kidnappping had left her adrift, just like those odd dreams she had in her coma of her father. Metaphorically, she was tethered by a fraying rope, and Mulder was on the jetty, his hand outstretched. If only she could reach out for him. She needed to know that he would be there, a comfort and another human. Being alone terrified her, she didn't want Mulder to say his awkward goodbyes and go home to his own apartment. She wanted him near her, preferably in her arms.
But that wasn't possible, and never would be.
They reached her apartment building, and Mulder killed the engine, already moving out of the car to open Scully's door for her. Let it not be said that he was not chivalrous, given the right moment.
They trudged up the steps together, and as they reached her door, Scully couldn't help herself.
"Mulder," she said, breaking the half an hour long silence between them, "Would you, I mean, could you, um, stay? With me?" She stuttered, feeling like she was asking out her first crush all over again. So much for mature adult woman.
Mulder's face transformed into an enormous smile, so big she wasn't sure if his face could even contain it.
I really hope you listen to the song, it just fits so well. I also hope you enjoyed this chapter, I'm particularly proud of this one. It may also be the longest. Leave a review, if you please!